Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

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Logjik
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby Logjik » Tue May 11, 2010 6:13 pm

Sorry for the noob question, but does T1=Top50, T2=50-75, T3=75-100? I always thought of Tier 1 as top 100?

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vanwinkle
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby vanwinkle » Tue May 11, 2010 6:17 pm

Logjik wrote:Sorry for the noob question, but does T1=Top50, T2=50-75, T3=75-100? I always thought of Tier 1 as top 100?

T1 = Ranked 1-50
T2 = Ranked 51-100

T3 and T4 are categories without rankings. I'm not sure exactly how many schools are in each, but I wouldn't be surprised if T3 was about 50. T4 is a collection of all the schools that aren't in the first three tiers.

Logjik
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby Logjik » Tue May 11, 2010 6:18 pm

Thanks for the clarification.

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Dead Ringer
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby Dead Ringer » Tue May 11, 2010 6:19 pm

Questions like this have pretty much ruined this message board. The answer is No. No.

RickyMack
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby RickyMack » Wed May 12, 2010 2:44 am

vanwinkle wrote:
Danteshek wrote:In those days it was much easier to get into law school. My dad was a B student at Harvard with an average LSAT. The reason he got in was because he was a well known football player (second all time leading rusher), and because he married well.

Your dad is a Harvard grad, married well, went to a T14 law school, became a successful opera singer...


such a similar story to paul robeson, too bad that guy was black, lived during the red scare, because of his commie leanings he became exiled from the US.

legalized
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby legalized » Wed May 12, 2010 3:19 pm

Danteshek wrote:TTT value proposition:

1) 90 percent of attorneys practice outside of large firms
2) Junior associates in large firms typically do not practice law in the fullest sense (doc review)
3) Vast majority of biglaw associates never make partner, sometimes after many years and without acquiring the skills necessary to be self sufficient in small firm practice
4) If you want to have more responsibility sooner, it is typically best to join a smaller firm to start your career
5) Local schools have strong local networks (cannot emphasize this enough)


I like this logic.

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3 Stripes
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby 3 Stripes » Wed May 12, 2010 3:22 pm

legalized wrote:
Danteshek wrote:TTT value proposition:

1) 90 percent of attorneys practice outside of large firms
2) Junior associates in large firms typically do not practice law in the fullest sense (doc review)
3) Vast majority of biglaw associates never make partner, sometimes after many years and without acquiring the skills necessary to be self sufficient in small firm practice
4) If you want to have more responsibility sooner, it is typically best to join a smaller firm to start your career
5) Local schools have strong local networks (cannot emphasize this enough)


I like this logic.


+1

And certainly one of the more intelligent posts I've read on here, given my short time as a poster.

legalized
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby legalized » Wed May 12, 2010 3:52 pm

Danteshek wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:To get this thread back on track... See this ATL thread:

http://abovethelaw.com/2010/05/rescission-open-thread-which-firms-are-pulling-offers/

Firms are pulling offers from people. Even if you find a job, you may not get to keep it.


This actually happened to me in 2008. I was all set to move to Russia for a job in investor relations for a PE firm. The managing partner had a fucking stroke and died. The firm rescinded the offer, after I had left my job at Wachovia, rented out my apartment, sold my car and broken up with my girlfriend. I was unemployed for a year and applied to law school. I got a measly $5,000 settlement.

Vanwinkle: I think you are unduly pessimistic. You should count your lucky stars for being able to attend a school from which these firms (that are apparently rescinding offers) would hire from in the first place. You are in a better position than 97% of law students in this country.


You broke up with your girl because you were moving to Russia? Ice cold! smh

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trialjunky
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby trialjunky » Wed May 12, 2010 4:08 pm

legalized wrote:
Danteshek wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:To get this thread back on track... See this ATL thread:

http://abovethelaw.com/2010/05/rescission-open-thread-which-firms-are-pulling-offers/

Firms are pulling offers from people. Even if you find a job, you may not get to keep it.


This actually happened to me in 2008. I was all set to move to Russia for a job in investor relations for a PE firm. The managing partner had a fucking stroke and died. The firm rescinded the offer, after I had left my job at Wachovia, rented out my apartment, sold my car and broken up with my girlfriend. I was unemployed for a year and applied to law school. I got a measly $5,000 settlement.

Vanwinkle: I think you are unduly pessimistic. You should count your lucky stars for being able to attend a school from which these firms (that are apparently rescinding offers) would hire from in the first place. You are in a better position than 97% of law students in this country.


You broke up with your girl because you were moving to Russia? Ice cold! smh


Damn you legalized to the bottom pit of hell!! Now, I want a beer so bad...only 30 minutes left before I have to leave this concentration camp called my job.

Danteshek
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby Danteshek » Wed May 12, 2010 4:20 pm

Yep. Now she's engaged. I usually don't date more than a one or two girls a year, so I think my odds of finding the right person are pretty darn slim at this point (I'm 28). I've pretty much come to the conclusion that all the good ones are taken.

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Fast_Fingers
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby Fast_Fingers » Wed May 12, 2010 4:41 pm

legalized wrote:
Danteshek wrote:TTT value proposition:

1) 90 percent of attorneys practice outside of large firms
2) Junior associates in large firms typically do not practice law in the fullest sense (doc review)
3) Vast majority of biglaw associates never make partner, sometimes after many years and without acquiring the skills necessary to be self sufficient in small firm practice
4) If you want to have more responsibility sooner, it is typically best to join a smaller firm to start your career
5) Local schools have strong local networks (cannot emphasize this enough)


I like this logic.


I do too. However, it seems that the TTT get the most flak for being pretty much the same, price wise, as the top 100, so it appears to be scamming people for a law education (sometimes being woefully under-prepared for the bar exam).

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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby Danteshek » Wed May 12, 2010 4:56 pm

Eh. At my school, if you finish in the top 30 percent after 1L, you get a nice scholarship. If you do well, you will pass the bar. The better you do 1L, the less debt you will have, and the more employable you will be. I don't really feel bad for the people who don't succeed. It's their own damn fault. And many of these people are content with simply becoming lawyers (ie. the debt is worth it to them). The low bar passage rates are mostly a result of TTT taking chances on kids who probably don't belong in law school and who tend comprise the bottom of the class. So, if you're smart (ie. good at legal reasoning) and choose to go to a lower ranked school, that choice will not really affect your chance of passing the bar. It might hurt you if you want biglaw, but that is not the goal for the vast majority of students at TTT schools.

Also, it is not really an option for these schools to lower tuition. It costs money to run a quality law school and most of these schools don't have big endowments to cover operating expenses.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed May 12, 2010 5:03 pm

Fast_Fingers wrote:
legalized wrote:
Danteshek wrote:TTT value proposition:

1) 90 percent of attorneys practice outside of large firms
2) Junior associates in large firms typically do not practice law in the fullest sense (doc review)
3) Vast majority of biglaw associates never make partner, sometimes after many years and without acquiring the skills necessary to be self sufficient in small firm practice
4) If you want to have more responsibility sooner, it is typically best to join a smaller firm to start your career
5) Local schools have strong local networks (cannot emphasize this enough)

I like this logic.

I do too. However, it seems that the TTT get the most flak for being pretty much the same, price wise, as the top 100, so it appears to be scamming people for a law education (sometimes being woefully under-prepared for the bar exam).

It's more than just that. The logic above is highly flawed, because it ignores a lot of factors that go into people criticizing lower-tier schools. A big part of it is that while there is this huge diverse world of law practice and most people end up doing something other than BigLaw, BigLaw is responsible for most hiring directly out of law school. Smaller law firms do exist in abundance, but even proportional to their staff numbers, they don't hire nearly as many new associates fresh out of law school as BigLaw firms do. The same is true for many public interest organizations.

The truth is that the hiring model for a long time has been based on using BigLaw to train new graduates. While most people hired by BigLaw don't ever make partner, they do use the years of experience they earn as an associate to get jobs elsewhere as an experienced attorney. Other legal hiring (both smaller law and PI orgs) not only know this but rely on this. They'd rather hire experienced attorneys after BigLaw has paid the expense of training them, then hire new people fresh out of law school and train them themselves.

(The point above about how many people leave BigLaw "without acquiring the skills necessary to be self sufficient in small firm practice" is a joke. Yes, it's probably true that many don't, but many do, and there's a glut of many thousands of those out there looking for work, probably tens of thousands, looking at the recent numbers on total layoffs in the last couple years.)

So, no, most people who do BigLaw don't make partner, but those who don't take up all the other legal jobs out there as much as they can. This is especially true now in a recession where BigLaw has laid off so many more attorneys than normal. There are experienced lawyers everywhere looking for work and having trouble finding it, and as a result they're taking the lowest-paying work out there just so they have something. When the economy does pick up again, these people are going to try to use their experience to jump to any decent new work that comes open. Fresh TTT grads are going to have no chance against these folks, whether it's for positions in PI organizations or in small law firms. Hell, even many T14 grads won't. Experience wins, and there's a glut of experienced lawyers out there who're going to be trying to move up and take any decent job openings that become available. That's going to keep the legal hiring market depressed for quite some time, even after things start to recover.

Anyone who believes a TTT is anywhere near a solid investment at any price is making an enormous gamble. They can roll the dice, and a very few will still win the lottery and make a successful career for themselves, but it's obvious to those who actually look at what's going on right now that most won't, and there's no way to know if you'll end up in that vast majority of those who don't or not before you try. Unless you're that kind of gambler, and want to gamble with six figures in debt and wasting years of your life, a TTT is not for you.

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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby 270910 » Wed May 12, 2010 5:17 pm

vanwinkle wrote:BigLaw is responsible for most hiring directly out of law school


That's extraordinarily false. Big law accounts for < 10% of hiring direct from law school.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed May 12, 2010 5:29 pm

disco_barred wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:BigLaw is responsible for most hiring directly out of law school

That's extraordinarily false. Big law accounts for < 10% of hiring direct from law school.

Are you sure that number is accurate? Everything I've heard says they make up a much larger percentage of direct hiring than that, especially as a measure of total private-side hiring.

It's also logically made sense to me, since I've also heard from people that many smaller firms do hiring at a much smaller ratio; while BigLaw may hire 3-5 associates per partner, I've spoken directly to 3Ls who've worked for smaller firms, and they talked like it's 3-5 partners per associate in those places. So very few associates being hired even on a partner:associate per capita basis.

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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby Danteshek » Wed May 12, 2010 5:34 pm

Haha. The District Attorney's Office trains lawyers a whole lot better than any large law firm. So do small law firms. Big firms USE law graduates to make obcene money for the partners. That can hardly be considered training.

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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby 270910 » Wed May 12, 2010 5:36 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
disco_barred wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:BigLaw is responsible for most hiring directly out of law school

That's extraordinarily false. Big law accounts for < 10% of hiring direct from law school.

Are you sure that number is accurate? Everything I've heard says they make up a much larger percentage of direct hiring than that, especially as a measure of total private-side hiring.

It's also logically made sense to me, since I've also heard from people that many smaller firms do hiring at a much smaller ratio; while BigLaw may hire 3-5 associates per partner, I've spoken directly to 3Ls who've worked for smaller firms, and they talked like it's 3-5 partners per associate in those places. So very few associates being hired even on a partner:associate per capita basis.


~50,000 people start law school, ~45,000 graduate, and ~5,000 (in good times) go to NLJ 250 firms each year. And by the time you get to the bottom of the NLJ 250, you're starting to push it by calling it 'big law'.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed May 12, 2010 5:37 pm

disco_barred wrote:~50,000 law students / year, ~45,000 graduates, ~5,000 (in a good year) go to NLJ 250 firms (and by the time you get to the bottom of the NLJ 250, you're starting to push it by calling it 'big law').

I think part of the problem is you're using a much stricter definition of BigLaw than I would.

How many jobs go to firms that follow the "BigLaw model"? (Hiring 3+ associates per partner, with the knowledge and intent that most hired won't make partner but will leave and go elsewhere.)

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vanwinkle
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed May 12, 2010 5:39 pm

Danteshek wrote:Haha. The District Attorney's Office trains lawyers a whole lot better than any large law firm. So do small law firms. Big firms USE law graduates to make obcene money for the partners. That can hardly be considered training.

This isn't an argument about who does it well, it's an argument about numbers. Also, "The District Attorney's Office"? There is not one conglomerated office, it's a bunch of offices strewn about the country, each with its own hiring needs and methods.

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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby Danteshek » Wed May 12, 2010 5:40 pm

60 percent of my school's graduates are hired directly into small firms.

Danteshek
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby Danteshek » Wed May 12, 2010 5:42 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Danteshek wrote:Haha. The District Attorney's Office trains lawyers a whole lot better than any large law firm. So do small law firms. Big firms USE law graduates to make obcene money for the partners. That can hardly be considered training.

This isn't an argument about who does it well, it's an argument about numbers. Also, "The District Attorney's Office"? There is not one conglomerated office, it's a bunch of offices strewn about the country, each with its own hiring needs and methods.


I am well aware of that, Mister. DDAs anywhere in the country are getting more litigation experience in a year than biglaw associates get in a career.

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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby 270910 » Wed May 12, 2010 5:43 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
disco_barred wrote:~50,000 law students / year, ~45,000 graduates, ~5,000 (in a good year) go to NLJ 250 firms (and by the time you get to the bottom of the NLJ 250, you're starting to push it by calling it 'big law').

I think part of the problem is you're using a much stricter definition of BigLaw than I would.

How many jobs go to firms that follow the "BigLaw model"? (Hiring 3+ associates per partner, with the knowledge and intent that most hired won't make partner but will leave and go elsewhere.)


What? The NLJ 250 are the 250 largest law firms in the country. Roughly 20 firms have over 1,000 attorneys - but the very last firm on the list has 165 .

The Cravath model of leverage is dead on that list long before you get to that 250th firm.

Are you seriously suggesting that the overwhelming majority of law graduates starting in firms of < 165 attorneys are heading to 'big law'?

Big law and its bizarre OCI / pipeline hiring practices are, objectively, a tiny portion of the legal industry by man power.

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kalvano
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby kalvano » Wed May 12, 2010 5:49 pm

I was under the impression that the majority of people go in to private practice in firm of fairly small sizes.

Danteshek
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby Danteshek » Wed May 12, 2010 5:55 pm

kalvano wrote:I was under the impression that the majority of people go in to private practice in firm of fairly small sizes.


Thats correct, at the bottom 190 law schools in the country. But this is TLS, so we like to perpetuate a belief that if law graduates don't get picked up by large firms, they will be flipping burgers at McDonald's.

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kalvano
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Re: Is a third/forth tier law school even worth going to?

Postby kalvano » Wed May 12, 2010 6:01 pm

Danteshek wrote:
kalvano wrote:I was under the impression that the majority of people go in to private practice in firm of fairly small sizes.


Thats correct, at the bottom 190 law schools in the country. But this is TLS, so we like to perpetuate a belief that if law graduates don't get picked up by large firms, they will be flipping burgers at McDonald's.



So what about the untold numbers of successful attorneys who never work for Biglaw firms?




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